Larry King Announces Retirement; Pat Dees Named WoodmenLife President & CEO

Tuesday, August 2, 2016 - 13:31

Omaha, NE – WoodmenLife President & CEO Larry King has announced his retirement as President & CEO, effective March 2017. He will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board through October 2017, the company announced.

The WoodmenLife National Board of Directors has appointed Pat Dees as President & CEO, effective March 2017.

Dees joined WoodmenLife in 1988 in Angleton, TX. He was appointed a Regional Director in March 1996 and served in that role in California, Florida and South Georgia.

Since joining the WoodmenLife Home Office in 2009, Dees has held various senior management positions, currently as Executive Vice President, Fraternal, in which he oversees WoodmenLife’s community service strategy nationwide.

Dees serves on the Board of Directors of Woodmen Financial Services,, Crossroads of Western Iowa and the Nebraska Humane Society. He is also the current Board Chair of the American Fraternal Alliance.

“I’m honored by this opportunity, and looking forward to leading the amazing team at WoodmenLife,” Dees said. “I will build upon our 126 years of creating value for our member customers and continuing to drive growth. With all of the advancements happening in our industry, there are many exciting opportunities ahead. I look forward to working with everyone involved with our organization toward achieving our goals."

King joined WoodmenLife as a Sales Representative in Kentucky in April 1974, and went on to hold a number of key management positions within the Sales Division. He was appointed President & CEO of WoodmenLife in October 2012. He was named Chairman in July 2013. Under his leadership, WoodmenLife:

  • Successfully rolled out a company-wide rebranding campaign, uniting more than 900 chapters, 1,100 Sales Representatives and 700,000 members behind one brand identity.
  • Launched a new member website via which members can access their own product details and update personal information.
  • Released several innovative products and developed new strategies for reaching small business owners with ways to help employees purchase voluntary life insurance and retirement solutions.
  • Achieved clarification of the property tax code as it relates to fraternal benefit societies, and gained equal treatment and protection under the law for WoodmenLife to achieve a property tax exemption that was on parity with other not-for-profits in Nebraska through the passing of Nebraska Legislative Bill 414.
  • Further positioned itself as a Midwest institution through extensive building renovations and frequent lighting of the iconic WoodmenLife Tower to raise awareness for various charities and causes.
  • Continued to demonstrate growth in assets, surplus, insurance in force, and other key categories during a difficult period in the industry.

The WoodmenLife National Board of Directors has also appointed Matthew Ellis as Executive Vice President, Secretary and General Counsel, effective March 2017.

Ellis began his career with WoodmenLife in 2006, serving as Director and Assistant General Counsel, and currently as Vice President and General Counsel, where he is responsible for coordination of all legal efforts for the company, including litigation, corporate matters, compliance, and risk management.